This week the snatching of Jessica Simpson’s maltipoo Daisy by a coyote made headlines, a tragedy that took place just months after Ozzy Osborne’s Little Bit was killed in a similar attack. Although these Hollywood losses made headlines, many other dogs are killed or go missing every day because of coyote attacks. As suburban areas encroach into traditional coyote territory, sadly more and more small dogs and cats fall victim to these wild animals who do what they must to survive. What can you do to protect your small pets?
First and foremost: keep your dog on a leash and supervised. Small dogs aren’t safe even in a fenced yard; Osborne’s dog was taken from his back yard in mid-day. A coyote can top a tall fence (and can dig under as well). Coyote-proofing a yard involves a wire apron or concrete edging to prevent digging beneath the fence plus wire or electrification to prevent coyotes from coming over the top of the fence. Call a fence professional to coyote-proof your fence.
Next, make your yard and home unattractive to coyotes:
- Make sure your trash is always covered. Even an open compost pile can lure in coyotes so make sure your yard has no decomposing trash or odors to draw them in.
- Feed your dogs indoors.
- If you have larger dogs in a fenced yard and you feed them outside, pick up any uneaten food within 15 minutes of feeding.
- Don’t overfill your bird feeder; spilled seed can bring mice and attract coyotes.
- Cut back any brush so coyotes will feel vulnerable and exposed when they enter your yard.
Many dog lovers worry about walking their dogs but coyote attacks on humans are very rare. If you do run into a coyote on your dog walk, yell and scream to scare him away. Don’t try to outrun coyotes, though; they’ve been clocked at 30 mph!